In early March, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU announced the activation of a never-before-used directive, authorising entry to the EU of an unlimited number of people fleeing disaster. Ukrainian refugees will have the right to reside and work in the EU for one year, extendable to three, a right that refugees fleeing other recent wars, such as those in Syria and Afghanistan, have been denied. It is not known how many people from these countries never reached European territory, having died in the attempt, drowned in the Mediterranean. Alarm Phone’s network of volunteers relies on two basic tools in its work to help prevent migrants and refugees from dying at sea.
A steady chorus of drums and symbols filled Benjamin Banneker Park in Washington, D.C., as the sun peaked in the overcast sky above. A sea of protesters joined the beat and began chanting. “Congreso, escucha, estamos en la lucha,” the crowd roared in Spanish, each repetition growing louder. Their voices rose above the percussion and were greeted by an enthusiastic organizer speaking into a microphone. The “Welcome Back Congress” march had officially begun. Around a thousand activists and immigrants — including a humble contingent from the University of Maryland — converged in Washington, D.C., Tuesday as Congress returned from its August recess. The march, organized by CASA, a grassroots immigrant advocacy organization, demanded that a pathway to citizenship remain in the budget reconciliation package.